Chrystal white sand, clear blue water, and plenty of sunshine – you can have it all. Situated along the west coast of Florida is a quaint little city which sits along the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay. Its coastline is dotted with spectacular waterfront mansions and award winning beaches. It is a popular sunny escape for the winter weary and a place where many fortunate residents, including myself, call home. This wonderful little area is Sarasota, FL. If you plan to vacation or move here, I must warn you, between golf, the beach, and all types of water and boat activities, you may never want to leave.
Sarasota Florida Real Estate
Sarasota, FL attracts buyers of all kinds, including the rich and famous who have owned homes in our beautiful city either now or in the past. Celebrities such as Joe Perry, Randy Savage, Jerry Springer, Dick Vitale, Stephen King, Michael Jordan, Tom Selleck, and Tom Cruise have all added Sarasota homes to their list of real estate.
There are plenty of reasons why one might choose Sarasota real estate over other popular areas. It may be a peaceful escape or to live closer to relatives. Or maybe they just want to take advantage of our beautiful Sarasota Florida weather with some fun in the sun at the world famous Siesta Key Beach.
Sarasota, FL is a city rich in history and architecture and many of its historic neighborhoods still remain today. Located on the outskirts of downtown Sarasota is Gillespie Park, an affordable neighborhood of bungalows and cottages named after the first mayor of Sarasota, Hamilton Gillespie. If you prefer history combined with walkability, then there is the historic Laurel Park boasting a mix of homes and apartment buildings dating back to the 1920’s. The allure of both these neighborhoods is the close proximity to the heart of downtown Sarasota.
As you venture into downtown Sarasota, in the heart of the city is Main Street, with streets, many named after fruits, branching off on both sides. This historic city is filled with shops, restaurants, and colorful bungalows. Downtown Sarasota is divided into five districts: The Rosemary District, Burns Court, The Historic Palm Ave District, Towels Court, and Gillespie Court.
Traveling west from downtown, over the Ringling Bridge, you will find the communities of Lido Key, St. Armand’s and the popular St. Armand’s Circle where you will find high-end retail shops, boutiques, and restaurants.
As you travel South towards Siesta Key Beach, west of Tamiami Trail, is the historic community of Cherokee Park. This is one of the oldest and premier historic neighborhoods along Sarasota Bay offering tree-lined streets and homes dating back to as early as the 1920’s. Sarasota real estate prices in Cherokee Park start in the high $800,000’s.
A short drive from downtown is the renowned community of Siesta Key, an 8 mile island, home to one of the most popular beaches in the nation, Siesta Key Beach. Homes on this barrier island range from affordable condos to million dollar homes along the glittering waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Sarasota offers cool and chic condo living throughout its wonderful city. A large number of high rises line the coast of Sarasota’s barrier islands including Siesta Key, Longboat Key, and downtown Sarasota. Condominiums for sale in Sarasota Florida are offered in a variety of price ranges, styles, and locations.
Sarasota has over 80 golf courses so for those who want to live in an above par community and get their game below par, there are plenty of golf communities to choose from.
For the boating enthusiast, you have your pick of places to launch your boat, marinas to store your boat, or homes with boat docks.
The area has several master planned communities including Palm Aire, Palmer Ranch, and Lakewood Ranch which was recently recognized as the third best selling master planned community in the nation. These large-scale residential neighborhoods boast recreational and commercial amenities including golf courses, lakes, community parks, community pools, restaurants, and quality schools.
Small towns near Sarasota FL include Anna Maria Island, Bradenton Beach, and Longboat Key. These nearby Florida beach towns are a fun place to visit when venturing outside of Sarasota, FL.
Sarasota FL Zip Code
Sarasota Florida Weather
Sarasota is Florida’s own slice of paradise, especially for those looking to escape the cold winter months in the northeast. With warm tropical weather year round, one can plan on removing the word winter coat from their vocabulary. During the hot summer months of June through September, Floridians can expect temperatures in the 80’s to 90’s, humidity, and periods of daily rain, with storms that roll out as quickly as they roll in. The humidity drops and temperatures begin to cool during the dry months of October through May, with average temperatures in the 70’s. That is not to say that Sarasota does not experience near freezing temperatures. During the months of December through March, the area can experience random temperature drops into the low 30’s, yet on average, there is only one frost per year.
Sarasota is a year-round outdoor playground and recognized as one of the healthiest cities in the nation. The sunshine allures residents and visitors alike to take advantage of the surf and sand. There are plenty of outdoor activities that meet just about anyone’s needs. You can kayak, paddleboard, or jet ski. There are fishing charters, dinner cruises, and plenty of scenic locations for fishing, jogging or walking.
Known for some of the most gorgeous beaches in the nation, Sarasota attracts visitors from all over the world. Our beaches offer soft white sand, crystal blue waters, and a less hectic atmospheres than the bigger city beaches. When visiting our local beaches, expect some solitude and relaxation along with manatees swimming and dolphins gracefully playing. Take a stroll along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline and you will find unique seashells, sun-cured sand dollars, and coral washed ashore. You might even find an unusual treasure like a sea sponge.
It doesn’t matter which Sarasota beach you choose because all offer free parking and a unique experience. Let’s take a better look at each of our beautiful Sarasota area beaches.
Siesta Key Beach
Address: Siesta Key Beach 948. Beach Rd., Siesta Key, FL 34242
Having won accolades more than once for the best beach in the nation, Siesta Beach has become one of Sarasota’s most popular beach spots. A recent $21.4 million renovation only adds to this famous beach’s allure. The expanded parking lot with 141 additional spots and the newly renovated visitor’s area are only a glimpse of what lies beyond. Beautiful, spacious walkways cut through the expansive quartz sand beach directing visitors to the sparkling blue waters. These walkways along with wide open access points throughout the beach make it easy to navigate to the perfect spot with your beach chairs and coolers in hand.
One of the newest highlights is the elevated, two-story, concession with an open deck for capturing some of the most magnificent views. As with most beach concessions, the food can be a bit pricey.
For a fun activity, gather some friends for a game of beach volleyball in the baby, soft sand. The Siesta Beach volleyball courts attract players of all levels and have been host to collegiate and commercial tournaments throughout the years.
Every Sunday night, about an hour before the sun sets, just south of the Pavillion, is the Siesta Key Drum Circle. What started as some friends playing on the beach has blossomed into a big attraction of many people playing percussion instruments and dancing while the sun sets on the horizon. It’s a time for everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves. Both the event and parking are free, but it is a popular event, so get there early because parking fills up quickly.
Lido Key Beach
Lido Key boasts three beaches: North Lido, Lido Beach, and South Lido. John Ringling, an influential Sarasota figure with a love for Italian, referred to the beach as Lido, which translates to beach in Italian. Although smaller than Siesta Key Beach, Lido Beach is a close match with its turquoise waters and soft white sand which squeaks as you scuff your feet through it. During low tide, enjoy a walk out to the sandbar where you will see an abundance of beautiful shells and live sand dollars.
Lido Key is a small barrier island lined with many condos, yet the beach rarely feels crowded. Head there early to catch the sunrise and meditate amid the sounds of seagulls and crashing waves. Spend the day relaxing on the beach, watching the Pelicans and Osprey dive for fish, then wind down with a beautiful Florida sunset.
From mid-June until the fourth of July, Lido Key Beach is home to the annual Sarasota Power Boat Grand Prix Races. If you plan to attend, this is a popular event, so get to the beach early.
Parking at Lido Key Beach is free.
Lido Key is within a short walking distance to the upscale St. Armand’s Circle with restaurants, shops, and boutiques.
If you are in Sarasota, Lido Key Beach is a must see.
For those who want to venture outside of Sarasota, there are many other nearby beaches to enjoy. Situated between Lido Key and Bradenton are the beaches of Longboat Key, accessible by residents who visit the local resorts or guests and owners of beach condos and houses. Whitney Beach, offering public parking and public beach access is located at the north end of the Island. Although the beaches of Longboat Key offer no amenities, visitors will enjoy the soft, white sand and beautiful green-blue waters.
North of Longboat Key is Coquina Beach with picnic areas and grills. Heading north from Coquina Beach is Bradenton Beach boasting a historic fishing village. Continue traveling north and you will fall upon Manatee Beach. All are public beaches with free parking.
Sarasota offers an abundance of fun things to do including sporting events, cultural events, shopping, dining, and beautiful beaches. From arts and culture to local attractions, discover some of the best things to do in Sarasota, Florida.
Baltimore Orioles Spring Training – Pick up some tickets to watch spring training at Ed Smith Stadium.
Celery Fields – This 360-acre manmade hill, owned by Sarasota County is great for bird watching, walking, and biking. See more than 200,000 aquatic plants, wildlife, and trees. Access points and two boardwalks are located off Palmer Blvd and the other off Raymond Road.
Christmas Boat Parade – Held every December, boats decked out in holiday decor and festive music parade along the waters of Sarasota Bay.
Classic Car Museum – Located across the street from the Ringling Museum, this nostalgic museum boasts over 90 cars with over 100 years of man’s greatest invention.
Farmer’s Market – Pick up fresh fruit and produce at the Farmer’s Market, held each Saturday in downtown Sarasota.
Historic Spanish Point – This is a preserved Sarasota archeological site once inhabited by Indians. See prehistoric shell middens and learn about our Prehistory, Pioneers, Palmer, and Plants.
Historical Downtown Sarasota Walking Tour – Sarasota is an interesting city full of history and architecture. During this guided walking tour, you will discover the history and folklore of our area, both past, present, and future.
John Ringling Museum – Located on the grounds of John and Mabels Sarasota mansion, visitors will enjoy Ringling’s art collection, circus museum, and their breathtaking gardens.
Jungle Gardens – A wonderful children’s attraction featuring interactive experiences with birds, reptiles, animals, and entertaining shows.
LeBarge Tropical Cruises – Enjoy a two hour cruise along the Sarasota Bay where you will see dolphins, manatees, and various other marine mammals. Select from a menu of cruises, each offering something totally different.
Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsey – Stroll through a garden setting of art and whimsey. Open November through May.
Manatee Village Historical Park – Located in Manatee County, this historical village takes you back in time with historical landmarks dating back to the 1860’s – 1930’s. Historic structures include a courthouse, church, store, school, and cracker house.
Marina Jack Dinner Cruise – Enjoy sightseeing on the Gulf of Mexico. Located on the downtown Sarasota bayfront, this narrated lunch or dinner cruise is a must do.
Medieval Fair – This annual event is held in November of each year. Enjoy food, rides and games, face painting, artisan and craft demonstrations, and entertainment.
Mote Aquarium – Say hello to Hugh and Buffet, the aquarium Manatees. See sharks, sea turtles, and other marine life through touch pools, working labs, and interactive exhibits.
Myakka Wildlife Tours – See and learn about alligators and our area wildlife on a narrated, one hour covered airboat tour.
Professional and Amateur Theaters– Take your pick of theaters including Florida Studio, Asolo Repertory Theater, West Coast Black Theater Troupe, Urbanite Theater, Players Center for Performing Arts, and the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
Sarasota Film Festival – This 10-day long annual event showcases local and independent filmmaking. With over 850 film festivals across the nation, the Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) consistently ranks in the top 10%.
Siesta Key Crystal Classic – This event attracts professionals from all over in an annual sand sculpting festival. These masterpieces are a must see.
Sporting Events – Sports enthusiasts will have their share of sporting events to choose from including the Sarasota Polo Grounds, Premier Sports Campus Lakewood Ranch, Premier Rowing Facility of Benderson Park, Fiesta on Siesta, Sarasota Power Boat Grand Prix, or the Baltimore Orioles Spring Training Facility.
St. Armands Circle – Located just over the Ringling Bridge from downtown Sarasota, the circle offers fabulous dining, shopping, and sightseeing.
The Children’s Garden and Art Center – An enchanting place to bring the kids! Children can dig, play, and explore the magical gardens with fairies, dragons, pirates, and more. Art and nature classes are offered weekly.
Towels Court – Explore this artful neighborhood in downtown Sarasota filled with artist studios, galleries, and restaurants. From October – May, from 5-9 PM meet the artists and enjoy some live music while you stroll Towels.
TreeUmph Adventure Course – For a unique athletic experience, gear up for some climbing, swinging, zip lining, and aerial adventures at the TreeUmp Adventure Course located in Bradenton, FL.
Sarasota is filled with an abundance of delicious dining options, with a restaurant to please just about any palate. With over 21 Zagat rated establishments, the below list is just touching the surface of all the wonderful restaurants Sarasota has to offer.
Barnacle Bills – One of Sarasota’s well-known seafood restaurants offering resort style food at friendly prices. They offer two dining locations, N. Tamiami Trail and downtown Main Street.
Bijou Cafe – Zagat awarded fine continental dining. Located on 1st Street in Sarasota.
The Blue Rooster – Located on 4th Street in downtown Sarasota, offering creative southern comfort cuisine.
Cafe Amici – Set in the heart of downtown Sarasota, this is your classical Italian cuisine.
Cafe Baci – Delicious northern Italian cuisine, specializing in osso bucco.
Capital Grille – Wonderul dry aged beef, seafood, and an award winning wine list. Located at the prestigious University Town Center Mall.
Clasico Cafe Bar– Situated on Main Street, Sarasota, this popular restaurant offers cuisine with a European flair.
Drunken Poet Cafe – A local attraction on Main Street, Sarasota offering Thai and sushi cuisine.
Flemmings Steak House – In addition to the perfect ambiance, you will enjoy prime cut, mouth-watering steaks and fine wines.
Hob Nob – For a bit of nostolgia, visit this original 50’s drive in with outdoor seating, hot dogs, hamburgs, and shakes. Located at 1701 N. Washington Boulevard, Sarasota.
Hyde Park Steak House – Delicious thick cut, charbroiled steaks, chops, and seafood in a chic urban environment. Located in downtown Sarasota at 35 S. Lemon Avenue.
Kona Grill – Located in the Mall at University Town Center, this casual restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating, a contemporary American cuisine, and specialty drinks.
Louies Modern – A dining hotspot and bistro in dowontown Sarasota offering indoor and outdoor seating and an American cuisine menu.
Marina Jack – Enjoy waterfront dining with expansive Sarasota Bay views. The menu features seafood, a raw outdoor patio bar, and a piano bar.
Mattison’s City Grille– Located in the heart of downtown Sarasota on the corner of Main Street and Lemon Ave, this restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating, music, and an award winning menu.
Nancy’s Barbeque – This popular barbeque hotspot is located in downtown Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch Main Street. Enjoy a casual atmosphere with a choice of smoked chicken, pork, ribs, and brisket.
Old Salty Dog – Offering spectacular water views and a casual atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor dining. The menu consists of pub food, seafood, and of course their legendary, salty dog.
Ophelia’s on the Bay – This Siesta Key seafood restaurant offers beautiful waterfront views while enjoying casual, fine dining.
Sarasota is home to the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, making travel to and from the area easy. The airport is conveniently located off University Parkway. Rental cars services and shuttle services are available near the baggage claim area.
Downtown Sarasota offers iShare, a free electric car shuttle service available from 11:00 am. until 11:00 pm. For the Saturday Farmers Market, the shuttle service begins at 8:00 am. It covers downtown Sarasota and the Rosemary district. Its boundaries are 14th Street to the north, Mound Street to the south, School Avenue to the east and the Bayfront to the west. To take advantage of this service, call 941.444.2585.
SCAT is the Sarasota County Transit System, offering bus service from the south of the county to the north. If you want to avoid the hassle of finding beach parking, the SCAT transit system runs 10 times per day from the Westfield Southgate Shopping Center to Siesta Key Public Beach.
Sarasota County Schools
When it comes to purchasing a home, quality schools are a vital part of the home buying process. Below is a list of schools serving the Sarasota County area.